Maryland permit or plate attachment

Rick Kretschmer's License Plate Archives 

Maryland permit or plate attachment

A Pictorial History of Maryland License Plates

Vehicle Permit and Tax Plates and Other Official Non-License Plates


This page presents official metal plates, other than actual license plates, issued by the state of Maryland or other government entities located in Maryland and used on vehicles. 

Latest noteworthy updates to this page
  • May 3, 2024  –  Added a 1963 Cecil County trailer permit. 
  • September 19, 2020  –  Added a 1959 Harford County trailer permit and revised description of trailer permits accordingly.  Added four Maryland road tax plates and revised their description.  Added a circa 1940s-50s Reisterstown Vol. Fire Dept. member strip.  Replaced photo of someone else's 1953 General Assembly parking permit with that of one I've added to my collection, and updated description of same. 


This page addresses metal plates made and/or distributed by the state of Maryland or Maryland local government agencies and used on vehicles, but which were not evidence of said vehicles having been registered with the state motor vehicle department.  For the most part, this category includes various types of vehicle permits and firefighter identification plates.  Typically, metal vehicle permits were used before advancements in adhesive technology made the use of stickers a viable alternative.  Plates used to identify a motorist as a member of a particular firefighting organization were commonplace before license plates serving that same purpose were introduced in the 1990s. 

There were certainly many more types of plates that should be included on this page, but for which I have little or no information and no photos.  If you have any photos of or information about addtional Maryland vehicle permit plates, tax plates, official dashboard plates, or official plate attachments, I would welcome your contributions to this page. 

My "Pictorial History" pages are intended to be a supplement to the information found in the ALPCA Archives.  I am providing additional details and additional photos not found in the archives, and clarifying information when appropriate.  When the ALPCA archives cover a subject in great detail, I do not repeat that detail here.  I sincerely hope that you find this information useful.  If you find an error or have additional information, or can provide a plate or a photo of a plate that I'm missing, please send me an e-mail.  There's a link to my e-mail address at the bottom of every page. 

Mouse over any image to see a description of the plate.  Click on any image to see an enlarged version. 

Maryland vehicle permit and tax plates

Incinerator and landfill permit plates

1972 Montgomery County landfill permit 1973 Montgomery County landfill permit 1974 Montgomery County landfill permit 1976 Montgomery County landfill permit 1977 Montgomery County landfill permit
Various 1970s Montgomery County landfill and incinerator permits (1972 thru 1974: O'Connor photos and plates; 1976 and 1977: Sells photos and plates)

I've only seen incinerator and landfill permit plates from Montgomery County.  These are full-sized, 6 inch by 12 inch plates, and were nearly always seen attached to garbage trucks and dump trucks.  I don't know how long Montgomery County issued these metal permits, but I saw them all the time when I lived and worked in Montgomery County during the 1980s. 

Parking permit plates

1953 General Assembly parking permit
1953 Maryland General Assembly parking permit

Maryland's state legislature is called the General Assembly, and consists of the state Senate and the House of Delegates.  Metal parking permits were made for, I presume, senators and delegates to use while on business at the State House.  But they exist with 1953 dates only.  There is no date stamped on the plate itself, and every single one I've seen has a '53 year tab attached.  The tabs were the same as were used to validate 1952 expiration license plates, just in a different color, and with no serial number.  These parking plates are not as wide as license plates; only about 11 inches rather than the 13 inch width of license plates during that time or the 12 inch width used since 1956.  They don't have bolt holes that would align with license plates, either, so I'm guessing they were used as dashboard placards. 

Trailer permit plates

undated Howard County trailer permit 1959 Harford County trailer permit 1960 Cecil County trailer permit 1961 Cecil County trailer permit 1962 Cecil County trailer permit 1963 Cecil County trailer permit
Undated Howard County trailer permit (Olivarri photo / plate); 1959 Harford County trailer permit; 1960 through 1963 Cecil County trailer permits. 

I'm only aware of three Maryland counties issuing trailer permits, and I don't really understand why trailers were required to obtain permits in the first place.  This Howard County permit shown above is undated, made of porcelain, and is only 3 inches by 5 inches in size.  I can't begin to guess its age.  The Cecil County and Harford County trailer permits from the 1950s and 1960s were made from Maryland motorcycle plate blanks.  The colors correspond to the Maryland license plates used during those same years but expiring in the following year.  The 1959 Harford County trailer permit is weathered and faded; it was originally the same bright blue color as the 1962 Cecil County permit. 

Road tax plates

Undated Maryland road tax plate 1960 Maryland road tax plate 1961 Maryland road tax plate 1962 Maryland road tax plate
Undated Maryland road tax plate, presumably from 1959; 1960, 1961, and 1962 Maryland road tax plates. 

For a few years , Maryland issued small plates as evidence that some sort of road use tax had been paid.  I'm aware of only these four; an undated plate which I presume is from 1959, and dated plates from the years 1960, 1961, and 1962.  Like the embossed trailer permits from the same period, these road tax plates were made from motorcycle license plate blanks.  I believe they were used on truck tractors (the power unit of a tractor-trailer combination) that were registered out-of-state but which used Maryland highways. 

Maryland official toppers, strips, and other plate attachments

Firefighter personal vehicle strips

circa 1940s-50s Reisterstown VFD member strip circa 1960s Silver Spring VFD member strip circa 1960s United Engine Co. member strip
Circa 1940s-50s Reisterstown Volunteeer Fire Dept.; circa 1960s Silver Spring Volunteer Fire Dept. (Doernberg plate) and United Steam Fire Engine Co. (Casadonte photo / plate) member strips

Back before members of just about every fire station in the state were able to get actual license plates with the name and logo of their station, firefighters identified themselves with these "strips", which were usually attached to one or both of the license plates on their personal vehicles.  These firefighter strips weren't necessarily made in the state license plate manufacturing plant. 

Maryland official dashboard plates

State Police dashboard plates

Maryland State Police dashboard plate Maryland State Police dashboard plate Maryland State Police dashboard plate
Maryland State Police dashboard plate made from a motorcycle license plate blank, circa 1960s; additional Maryland State Police dashboard plates of uncertain vintage ("Whitey" photos / plates)

Maryland makes dashboard plates from motorcycle license plate blanks, which apparently are used to identify vehicles on official state business.  I'm guessing that these authorize said vehicles to park in no-parking zones. 

Page credits

Thanks to those who have directly contributed to the information on this page:  David Doernberg, Paul Casadonte, "Whitey", and Jon Olivarri. 

O'Connor photographs © copyright by Tim O'Connor.  All rights reserved.  Used with permission. 
Casadonte, "Whitey", Olivarri, and Sells photographs are presumed to be copyrighted by Paul Casadonte, "Whitey", Olivarri, and Mike Sells, respectively, and are used with permission.  Doernberg and Olivarri plates are from the collections of David Doernberg and Jon Olivarri, respectively. 

This page is

W3C valid